Farming Neighbor Nations

Sri Lankan Army to cultivate over 1,500 acres unused land to increase food production

Sri Lankan Army to cultivate over 1,500 acres unused land to increase food production
Image credit: army.lk

Sri Lankan Army to cultivate over 1,500 acres of unused land to increase food production.

A media report says that the Sri Lankan Army will take part in an effort to farm over 1,500 acres of empty or unused state land. The goal is to increase food production and avoid food shortages in the future.

Thursday, the army set up the Green Agriculture Steering Committee (GASC) to help the food security programme in Sri Lanka, which is going through its worst economic crisis since it gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

Alspo Read | Sri Lankan economic crisis opened new markets for Kerafed to meet global coconut oil exports demand.

Food, medicine, cooking gas, fuel, and toilet paper are all in short supply because of the economic crisis. Sri Lankans have to wait in line for hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.

Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, who is in charge of the Army, is in charge of the emergency project that will start in early July to help the government’s efforts to grow crops. The Chief of Staff, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, will be in charge of the whole project.

Newsfirst.lk said on Friday that the troops will first clear the land of weeds, till it, and make beds for growing certain seed varieties. This will be done in consultation with agricultural experts.

All of the country’s Security Force headquarters and groups are currently looking into ways they can help with the task on a regional level.

The report said that the identification of state lands at the regional level will be done in close consultation with the respective governors, district and divisional secretariats, land officials, and Grama Seva officials. This will be done before the start of preliminary work to prepare the ground in the chosen lands.

Sri Lanka has decided to buy 50,000 metric tonnes of rice from India through a credit line, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday. This is to stop rice prices from going up too much, as the island nation is facing a food shortage.

After talking about it at the Prime Minister’s Office, it was decided to give the State Trading Corporation money from the Indian Loan Assistance Program. This was reported by the news site EconomyNext.

In March, India gave the cash-strapped Sri Lankan government a $1 billion credit line to help it get through the current economic chaos and deal with the food shortage.

After the agreement to extend the line of credit was signed, Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said that India has always stood with the people of Sri Lanka and will continue to help the country in any way it can.

In April 2021, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that chemical fertilisers would no longer be allowed. This made it impossible to grow rice and other essential foods.

Before the ban on fertilisers, Sri Lanka could make all the rice it needed on its own. A severe lack of foreign exchange reserves made the situation even worse. This meant that the Sri Lankan economy would go into a free fall.

Recently, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe told Parliament that Sri Lanka needs $5 billion to make sure that people’s daily lives don’t get messed up for the next six months.

The country was almost bankrupt and had a severe foreign currency crisis that caused it to default on its foreign debt. In April, the country said it would stop paying about $7 billion in foreign debt due this year, out of about $25 billion due through 2026.

Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at $51 billion. Also Read | Sri Lanka’s Economic crisis severely impacted Plantation daily-wage workers.

Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said on Friday that Sri Lanka is waiting for India to confirm a new credit line that would give the cash-strapped country enough money to buy gasoline and diesel for the next four months.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday that a new Credit Line from India will help the cash-strapped island nation buy fuel for another four months starting in July. At the same time, an LPG shipment of 3,500 MT arrived in Sri Lanka.